Simpson swimmers aim to finish season with strong kick

by Lara GillespieStaff Writer

As the swimming season winds down, the Storm women have stuck together and made progress with their small numbers and a coaching adjustment.

Amanda Rigg, interim head coach, has been coaching in place of Head Coach Mark Wagner as he undergoes treatment for multiple myeloma cancer, cancer of the plasma cell. Rigg, a 2007 Simpson graduate, was a three time letter-winner. She says progress is one thing the team has done well so far.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements since the beginning of the season,” Rigg said. “They can do a lot more than they could when they first came in October.”

Although the women have not broken any records yet, they are working towards lowering their times as they head into the last meet of the season, the Liberal Arts Invitational on Feb. 21, 22 and 23, at Principia College, Ill.

“We’re still just working on getting all of the speed up for the end of the year,” Rigg said. “Hopefully we can compete in the finals and get a few people in for the individuals and relays.”

More specifically, Rigg hopes junior Chelsy Croson will make it in the breaststroke, senior Melody Burgus in a distance freestyle event and junior Kirsten Towne in a sprint event.

Another goal the team has is to improve their numbers.

“We struggle with keeping our numbers up and getting more people out,” senior Jessica Paulsen said. “We continue to be a small team, which is good because we’re close, but sometimes it’s hard to compete with the larger teams.”

Even with their small numbers, Rigg is pleased with their versatility, especially in the freshman swimmers.

“Abby Weers is a freshman and she’s come on strong in the breaststroke to help us out,” Rigg said. “Claudia Swanson, also a freshman, can swim any event I put her in so she’s been a big asset for the team.”

One highlight for the women this season was a tight meet with Morningside.

“We were close to beating Morningside so our goal is to beat another team, really, and to place and score points,” senior Melody Burgus said. “We’re such a small team and everyone else has a lot of people. It’s a little intimidating.”

Another highlight was the addition of a Simpson men’s club team.

“It’s been fun because we do have five male swim club members and Simpson hasn’t had a men’s swim team in many years,” Rigg said. “I think that it’s made it kind of feel more like a team for the girls.”

The men travel with the women and compete at meets, but they can’t technically score points or win since they are not a varsity sport.

Rigg is pleased with the men’s flexibility out of only five members.

“They’ve been doing a good job,” Rigg said. “We’re able to compete throughout the strokes because they all have a little bit different talent, so it really works out well.”

Freshman Ethan Elkin is excited to be part of the club team for the opportunity to swim again and do well at the meets during the season.

“I like the fact that I have the opportunity to continue to swim through my college years,” Elkin said. “The season is going well-we all have dropped times in our events and one highlight was when our 400 free relay team got first at the Coe Invitational.”

One of Rigg’s goals is that everyone ends the season on a high note and returns next year.

“I just want time drops for everyone to feel like they’ve had a successful season to be happy with it,” Rigg said. “We only [have] two graduating seniors so hopefully everyone will be back and they’ll bring their friends.”